Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Front vs back

Brian Pokorny talked about a distinction between the applications that focus on the front camera more than the back camera in the devices. I think he is right about the comfort that the younger generation (less than 25 year old) has to be in front of a camera. We observed it with vChatter also. He is also right that the front camera is about faces while the back camera is more about the things.

For many young people who are using netbooks or tablets, the only camera they have is the front camera. In those cases it is all about the faces, it is all about their faces, the faces of their friends and interesting people they meet online.

Here is his slide modified to show where vChatter fits. [Photo courtesy Brian Pokorny and TechCrunch]




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Camera camera everywhere … Not a single relevant pic? Something serious is brewing in the mobile photo sharing space. A number of entrepreneurs are looking at the cameras springing up in each and every device around us and trying to make the most of it.

Instagr.am just released a very polished and popular iPhone application. Halloween picture sharing mania helped it earn many new users.
picplz just raised an insane amount of money on a good team and an idea to make it easy for people to share their photo memories. Is the imeem founder moving from one bad business (online music) to another bad business (photo sharing)? (Om Malik says that the photo sharing applications are great ideas but bad businesses.)
Path.com was launched today with an anti-social network that allows you to share your photo life path with the closest 50 friends that you have.
All of these ideas point to a bigger current flowing through the startup world – a further explosion of the content generated by the cameras all around us. Flickr, YouTube and Facebook are just scratching the surface of what is about to come. Get ready for some action guys!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million pictures, and a live video is worth even more. That is a part of the core belief we have at vChatter that allows you to share your live moments in front of the cameras with your loved ones and if you so desire with a matching randomly chosen person from all over the world. With cameras coming up everywhere it would become easier and easier for everyone to share their live moments in different contexts. Lights, Camera, Action … Let the fun begin!

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I was at the f8 facebook developer conference today. Here is a quick summary that I put together from a facebook developer’s perspective.

Facebook announced a bunch of things today. There will be a profound impact of these changes on the way we browse our favorite websites and as facebook developers our lives would be very different too.

Open Graph/Semantic web

A big step towards that “semantic web” we were all waiting for – going with their mission to make this world more and more open facebook announced that the websites would have access to an API which allows them to personalize your experience. e.g. You would know which of your friends liked a particular news story on CNN.

The developers would be able to mark their pages and objects with semantically interesting data and send that over to facebook. e.g. when someone likes a movie on IMDB it would go straight to your movies list since IMDB would be able to annotate that feed item as type “movie”.

Facebook Credits

Facebook announced that Facebook Credit which is currently in beta would come out for the broader ecosystem in June. Facebook Credits is an extremely important piece of the monetization puzzle for facebook and they have thought about this really well. They are also experimenting with many different ways to bring the liquidity in and out of the system.

Like everything, everywhere

The “Become a fan” is now “Like”. You now have a chance to leave your finger prints wherever you are on the web. You could like a song that you listen to on pandora or you could like a new story on CNN. Every web page is an object for facebook to be tracked. Every time you click some blue button you leave your trails.

Facebook also simplified the sharing process and made it a part of the Like experience. Now you could like something or someone on the web and share your comments at the same place.

Simpler and more open APIs for the developers

Facebook wants it to be extremely easy to integrate with them not just for the big websites but also for a small business owner who probably depends on his kid to program his website for him. They made two big policy changes that makes the developers’ lives much easier.

1. Now the websites would be able to store the profile information for longer than 24 hours. Removing this clause from their developer terms of usage makes the developers’ life so much more enjoyable. The applications built without this constraint would be much more powerful and stable.

2. Instead of prompting users for multiple permissions on multiple popups, developers could now prompt them for the access that they need in one screen and make the whole on-boarding process much simpler and faster.

They also announced social widgets that would make it easier for the developers who are not too deep of programmers to get plugged into the facebook party.

The new Open Graph API is a restful implementation of all the existing APIs. It is very simple and as Bret Taylor puts it requires only curl and a browser to get started.

A side comment about a personal observation – One interesting thing I noted was how facebook was able to merge FriendFeed into their organization and how they used Bret Taylor to learn the developer perspective and quickly make huge changes to their platform. I am impressed.

All these changes make the facebook platform powerful yet simple to understand and implement.

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I think this slide from Steve Jobs’ presentation sums up my professional life really well – At the intersection of liberal arts and technology.

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Could games be used to influence behavior? Could guilds, mobs and monsters teach us a thing or two about leadership, decision making, team building and effective communication? The answer is absolutely yes.

I met an interesting Stanford professor Byron Reeves who is focusing all his energies now to create this link between the fun games and the serious business.

Byron says –

If you want to see what business leadership may look like in three to five years, look at what’s happening in online games.

Here is an interesting report by IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook group – virtual worlds real leaders.

Helen Cheng, a level 60 guild leader and a stanford graduate talks about her transformative experience.

Finally, I pushed my button to talk and rallied the troops to revive one another and try again, mostly because I didn’t know what else to do. It was me, this girl, talking to a room of guys. And to my shock and surprise, everyone complied and we got going. That was a defining moment for me, and eventually led to me becoming a guild leader.

Leadership in current times, just like games, could be –

  • A temporary phenomenon
  • Task-oriented
  • Dynamic and constantly changing

Only time will tell where the leadership is headed in the coming decades. I think games are a clear indication of what it might look like in the future.

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David Plouffe (the mastermind behind Obama’s campaign) was awarded the Game-changer award at the We Media conference. They are launching recovery.gov today.

David gave an address via video here at the We Media conference.

He mentioned about the holy grail of politics – how to use the Internet to organize people. Rapid response isn’t just a press release anymore. They did a great job using facebook, twitter, myspace and other tools. Their baseline mission was to get people to vote even more than raising money and contributing. Most importantly they had the inspiration behind the tools.

David congratulations on winning this award.

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What a moment for America! Obama is the 44th president of the USA. A great inaugural speech by Obama which touches everyone on this planet.

obama_hopeOne of the readers of Andrew Sullivan’s blog writes about the difficulty that the comedians have in mocking Obama. Interesting read particularly this line – “Obama has the realness that comes from the hard psychological work that it takes to really get to know yourself and come out on the other side unafraid of whatever might come your way. “

But what Obama seems to have is the ability not to appear as if he is acting, faking it.  That is why comedians were able to mock Clinton’s lower lip biting and other such gestures meant to show how much he cared. Why do comedians have such a hard time mocking Obama?  Some say it is because he is black, and they don’t want to be seen as racist; no, that’s not it.  They mock Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton all the time.

They can’t mock Obama because he is not a faker, not a schmoozer,  not a dolt, not a skirt-chaser, not a charlatan, etc. etc.  Obama has the realness that comes from the hard psychological work that it takes to really get to know yourself and come out on the other side unafraid of whatever might come your way.  That is decidedly not funny.

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I wrote this poem in Hindi. A translation for my non-Hindi-speaking friends is coming soon 🙂

जीवन की दुपहरी! – ना  जाने क्या है शिखर के उस पार!

तीसरा और चौथा पहर अभी शेष है
जगमगाती दुपहरी का ये भेष है
सूर्य अपने चरम पर
आशाएं अपने परचम पर
असली जीवन तो अभी बाकी है!

क्या पहुँच पाऊँगा अपने शिखर पर?

सूर्यास्त से भय कैसा
चंद्रमा तो शीतल है
और चौथे पहर के बाद एक सुंदर कल है

यही तो बस एक क्षण है
आज ही का बस जीवन है

दोपहर हो गई गंतव्य का पता नहीं
धूप से उत्साह में कोई कमी नहीं
पहले पहर जब निकले थे
आभास नहीं था कि इतना दूर पहुँच जाएंगे

दूसरे पहर में, कुछ नए मार्ग खुले हैं
कुछ नए साथी मिले हैं
कुछ नए पुष्प खिले हैं

जीवन मार्ग बहुत सुखद है
मिलकर एक बागीचा बनायें
जीवन रस को चहूं और पहुंचाएं

शिखर की अभिलाषा त्याग बस आगे बढ़ते जाएं
ना  जाने क्या है शिखर के उस पार!

Wishing a great new year!

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